Chemical Informatics Letters

Volume 11, Issue 1; July 2005

Editor: Jonathan M Goodman

The Senate comment on PubChem
This builds on the earlier decision. The Senate report calls upon NIH to "work with the private sector chemical information providers, with the primary goal of maximizing progress in science while avoiding unnecessary duplication and competition with private sector databases." This is slightly modified from the earlier decision, as the focus is on advancing science and not on competition.

The Association of American Universities has a paper (PDF) commenting on the Senate's report. The Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA) suggests that the success of the NIH approach should be measured by the number of articles deposited in PubMed Central and made accessible to the public soon after publication (PDF). Meanwhile, PubChem has agreed with Nature Chemical Biology to publish structures on PubChem, and over one hundred are available. A website called, which appears to be unconnected to the NIH PubChem, is a database of four thousand chemicals in English and Chinese.

EU Patent Directive
The European Parliament has voted to reject the software patents directive. The vote to scrap the bill was passed by a margin of 648 votes to 14, with 18 abstentions. (Chem. Inf. Lett. 2004, 8, #6, 61.)

Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry
The Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry, a new peer-reviewed online journal published by the Beilstein-Institut (Beilstein-Institut zur Furderung der Chemischen Wissenschaften) in co-operation with BioMed Central, is now ready to accept articles for publication. As an open access journal it will allow readers free access to all content, in perpetuity, worldwide. It has no publication Charges, authors retain copyright, and it accepts only online submissions. The full instructions for authors are available.

Organic Syntheses
Dennis P. Curran, co-editor of Organic Syntheses, writes in the May 9, 2005 Chemical & Engineering News (subscribers only) that Organic Syntheses provides a model for free open access. The costs are born by the past profits of the publication.

Google Library Project and fair use
The Association of American University Presses has challenged Google to show that the Library Project is fair use and not copyright violation. Both publishers and authors are concerned.

United States Patent 6,907,350
This patent describes a: "Method, system and apparatus for handling information on chemical substances". This appears to cover much of chemical informatics.

If you are concerned that something you have been doing for years has just been patented, there are many tools available for patent searching, including typing the patent number directly into Google, Patent Lens, Patent Fetcher, Freepatents online and Paterra.

Elsevier has a new open source cross-referencing tool for Xquery applications (Xquery tutorial), called xqDoc. The tool is now freely available to the open source community.

Are Chemical Journals too Expensive?
The National Academies Report on chemical journals "Are Chemical Journals Too Expensive and Inaccessible?: A Workshop Summary to the Chemical Sciences Roundtable" is now available. The editor of Chemical & Engineering News wrote in the May 16th edition that chemical information is like an expensive car, and so no one should expect them to be freely available.

Maths and science songs
A database of songs about mathematics and science.

Synthetic Pages
This resource, an interactive database of chemical procedures (see Chem. Inf. Lett. 2002, 4, #4), has been growing and now has over two hundred pages.

Chemistry Heroes
The ACS is developing a list of contemporary heroes of chemistry, focussing on industrial scientists whose chemical work has led to a product that improves peoples lives.

This chemistry software store provides chemical database and property prediction tools - including MOLPRO - not to be confused with MOLPRO.

© 2005 J M Goodman, Cambridge
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